Counterclaims, Cross-Claims, and Third-Party Complaints

The responsive pleading may also contain defenses in the form of a claim, counterclaim , cross-claim , or a third-party claim which will make a proceeding more complex.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7013 and 7014 govern the procedures relating to these types of claims.

 


COUNTERCLAIM


Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7013

 

Docket Event:

[Adversary> Summons & Other Actions> Counterclaim]

 

  • A counter-claim is a claim by a defendant against a plaintiff.  It may be asserted in the responsive pleading. There is no filing fee.  
     

  • When a counter-claim is filed, the Counter-Claimant(s) and Counter-Defendant(s) will be listed as parties on the case with party role type Counter-Claimant or Counter-Defendant, in addition to any other party roles.  
     

  • The plaintiff shall serve a reply to a counterclaim in the answer within 21 days after service of the answer, or if a reply is ordered by the court, within 21 days after service of the order, unless the order otherwise directs. Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7012
     

  • The United States shall serve an answer to a cross-claim, or a reply to a counterclaim, within 35 days after service upon the United States attorney of the pleading in which the claim is asserted.

 


CROSS CLAIM


Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7013

 

Docket Event:

[Adversary> Summons & Other Actions> Crossclaim]

 

  • A cross-claim is a claim by one party against a co-party (e.g., a defendant claiming against another defendant, or a plaintiff claiming against another plaintiff, arising out of the original complaint.)  It may be asserted in the responsive pleading.
     

  • When a cross-claim is filed, the Cross-Claimant(s) and Cross-Defendant(s) will be listed as parties on the case with party role type Counter-Claimant or Counter-Defendant, in addition to any other party roles.    

  • A party served with a pleading stating a cross-claim shall serve an answer thereto within 21 days after service.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7012
     

  • The United States  shall serve an answer to a cross-claim, or a reply to a counterclaim, within 35 days after service upon the United States Attorney of the pleading in which the claim is asserted.

 


THIRD PARTY COMPLAINT


Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7014

 

Docket Event:

[Adversary> Summons & Other Actions> Third-Party Complaint]

 

  • A third-party complaint is a claim asserted by a defendant against a person not a party to the action who is or may be liable to the defendant for all or part of the plaintiff’s claim against the defendant.
     

  • Unlike a counterclaim or cross-claim which may be asserted in the responsive pleading, a third-party claim is asserted through the service of a summons and complaint by the defendant who for the purposes of the third-party claim is called the "third-party plaintiff."
     

  • The third-party summons (Form B250D) is used when the defendant commences a third-party action.
     

  • The third-party complaint does not commence a new action.  No filing fee is required.    

  • Upon the filing of a third-party complaint, the clerk shall issue the summons to the third-party plaintiff’s attorney (or the third-party plaintiff).  It is then the responsibility of the third-party plaintiff’s attorney (or the third-party plaintiff) to serve the summons and complaint on the third-party defendant and on the first-party plaintiff.
     

  • If the third-party complaint is filed more than 14 days after the defendant files the original answer, the third-party plaintiff must obtain leave on motion and notice to all parties to the action.  Fed. R. Bankr. P. 7014.    This is a jurisdictional issue for the parties and the judge to resolve.  
     

  • The time frame for responding to a thirty-party claim is the same as that set forth for responding to a complaint.

 

See Answer in Adversary Proceedings regarding filing an answer to the above